Portland, OR – Brigham Young University went on the road Thursday night against the Portland Pilots looking to maintain their second place position in the WCC. With only one month left in the regular season, BYU is looking to make a run for an NCAA tournament bid. The Cougars took charge to start the second half by hitting on 9-of-10 field goals. They outscored the Pilots during that impressive shooting stretch 20-4 to put the game out of reach and cruised to an easy 85-54 victory at the Chiles Center in front of 3,013 fans.
Senior Yoeli Childs, playing in only his 12th game this season due to an NCAA violation, led the second half surge by making his first seven shots of the half. The 6-8, 225-pounder tested the NBA draft last season and decided to return for his final year. Childs was a difficult matchup for the Pilots all night as he overpowered his opponents in the post and stepped out to hit the 3-point shot. The active power forward finished the contest with 22 points (8-for-14 FG) and eight rebounds. Childs has worked extremely hard on his outside shooting as his percentage as shot up from 32 percent last season to an impressive 58 percent thus far this season. Due to his stellar on-court play, Childs has been named as a finalist for the Karl Malone Award to honor the nation’s best power forward.
BYU is shooting 42 percent from the 3-point line which ranks number two in the nation this season. In the first half, they got off to another hot start by going 9-of-15 from beyond the arc. A big reason for their hot shooting was due to transfer guard Jake Toolson. The senior shooting guard displayed deadly accuracy by hitting 3-pointers with a hand in his face and a few several feet beyond the line. The nephew of former BYU standout Danny Ainge, went 6-of-8 from the 3-point and tallied 22 points (8-of-10 FG) in just 28 minutes of action.
Senior TJ Haws, who last Saturday hit the go-ahead 3-pointer against St. Mary’s had an off night shooting. He scored seven points, which is below his season average of 13, on 1-of-4 shooting from the field. He did play a major role running the offense, especially in the pick and roll game. The crafty ball handler with great court vision got in the paint with ease and looked to setup his teammates as he dished out eight assists on the night. Opponents have to be aware Haws as he can put up 20 points on any given night. The 6-4 senior is still very much involved in the game even when his shooting is off due his playmaking ability.
It was a tough night for the Pilots as they were held under 30 percent shooting for the game including going 4-for-25 in the second half. Leading scorer Isaiah White, paced the Pilots scoring 10 points (3-for-8 FG) in 19 minutes of play. He got in early foul trouble causing him to sit most of the first half. Junior shooting guard JoJo Walker had a team high 12 points (4-for-13 FG) and pulled down four rebounds for the Pilots.
Portland (9-16, 1-9) will go on the road to face San Diego (8-17, 1-9) on Saturday. BYU (18-7, 7-3) will continue their pursuit for an NCAA Tournament bid when they travel back home to take on the Dons of San Francisco (16-9, 5-5) also on Saturday.
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